Many international students may not be able to make it back home for Christmas. Between high flight prices and tight student budgets, it may not be financially viable. So, if this sounds like you, here are a few tips on how to, not only get through this Christmas, but to thrive during it:
1) Come together with similar students
According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), in 2012/13, 18 per cent of all students in higher education were international students. So there is a high chance there will be others that are going through the same experience as you. If you are not part of an international student Facebook group, make sure you join one. Or if one doesn’t exist in your area, make one yourself. By doing this, you can find out what everyone else is doing this Christmas and, together, you’ll be able to share unique festive traditions from your homeland.
2) Have a Skype Christmas
You may not be able to make it back but, thanks to technology, you can see and hear everything going on back home. Let your folks guide you through cooking a dinner, watch your family bicker from a safe distance, and relish the fact you can mute your grandma if she asks you about your career prospects - or why you’re still single.
3) Stay with a friend
This may be a daunting prospect for an international student, so this is more for the home nation students: perhaps you could allow an international student to partake in some, or maybe all, of your family's Christmas celebrations? You never know, the favour may be repaid any time you want to head off abroad to a festival.
There are many ways for you, our international counterparts, to have a fantastic Christmas away from home. Yet the key tip is that you must make sure people are aware of your circumstances. If no-one knows, then how can anyone help you out?
No-one wants you to be alone on Christmas Day, so contact your university to see if they have anything planned, or perhaps season your Christmas dinner with a bit of studying this year? (Seriously). Utilise this time as an advantage rather than seeing it as a negative experience.
You may not be going home this Christmas, but by no means are you alone. We Brits wouldn’t allow it.
Harry Meredith is a freelance journalist and writer, and studies creative writing in Bath
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